& COOKING ARTICLE
spicy Korean vegetable dish will warm up your winter
article originally appeared in The Japan Times and
has been published with the permission of its author
Yukari Pratt. Yukari writes for Tokyo`s Metropolis
magazine and for the The Japan Times. She has contributed
to the guidebook, Time Out Tokyo and to Time magazine.
Yukari has been profiled in GQ Japan and The Daily
Yomiuri. A Japanese food fanatic, whose mother is
Japanese, she is on a mission to bring the food of
Japan to as many people as possible.
hobbies include soaking in "onsen" hot springs,
drinking shochu, fly-fishing, and motorcycling.
managed to avoid kimchi for the greater part of my life.
My mother always had some in the fridge, and it was
one of the first aromas that would hit me whenever I
opened up the door. This was not a pleasant experience.
years back, though, in the heat of the summer, a Korean-Japanese
friend of mine named Ko whipped up a huge pot of kimchi
chige soup. I thought he had lost his marbles. Who in
their right mind would want to eat a steaming bowl of
spicy kimchi soup? Ko had worked hard at making it,
however, so I asked for a very small bowl. While it
was hot and spicy, it was rich in umami and had a lot
of depth to it. Beads of sweat congregated on my forehead,
but I went back for more. It was almost masochistic,
but I was converted. And shame on me for those lost
years of enjoying this Korean treat. While I cannot
turn back the clock, I can have as much kimchi as I
want now. Here are some ideas to warm you up in the
cold of the winter.
on its own is a great beer snack, or served simply with
a bowl of steaming rice. Many different vegetables are
used to make the dish, and each one contributes to the
finished product. From daikon to hakusai (Chinese cabbage),
cucumbers to bean sprouts, its the variety that
keeps you coming back for more. And, best of all, there
are so many varieties available at your local supermarket
- or if you are really into it, then explore the Korean
grocery stores in Shin-Okubo.
you are at the shops, pick up some kochujan, which is
a sweet and spicy bean paste. It is not at all like
miso, so dont use it as a miso substitute in these
dishes. Kochujan will give your cooking more depth,
and the sweetness will help to round out the heat from
the kimchi. If you make fresh spring rolls, you can
add a schmear of kochujan; its also good added
to marinades if you barbecue meats at home.
easiest and most addictive dish is buta kimchi, with
thinly sliced pork. If youre in a rush, make it
into a donburi and pour the buta-kimchi over a large
bowl of rice for a one-dish meal.
When I have friends over for a nabe party, the kimchi
nabe is one of the most popular. This dish is similar
to buta-kimchi, but it is rounded out with nira (garlic
chives), hakusai, shungiku (chrysanthemum greens) and
tofu. As a nabe it will need a liquid broth, so I like
to add kombu dashi and some kochujan.
idea is to chop up some kimchi, mix it with natto, and
garnish with sesame oil. While the kimchi takes away
some of the stink of the natto, it results in another
type of funky smell. You can add that to an omelet -
ideally on the weekends when you dont have any
Next time you make fried rice, add some chopped up kimchi,
ground pork, garlic, pine nuts and nori for a kimchi
chahan. Incorporate a bit of the kochujan at the last
minute to round out this dish. If you roll your own
sushi at home, a great combination is kimchi, cooked
spinach and the omelet.
kimchi and pork gyoza are a nice variation on the classic
dumpling. For the stuffing, try ground pork, chopped
kimchi, an egg yolk, minced green onions and sesame
new shop in Daimon named Sonamu offers Korean katei
ryori (home cooking). The kimchi is made from scratch
and incorporated into many dishes, such as buta kimchi
and dekitate maze kimchi, a salad with hakusai. Theres
also a seasonal one-pot dish with the charming name
saru no nabe. Its packed with seafood, kimchi
and topped with gnocchi, pasta and cheese.
I used to abhor kimchi, I now adore it and cant
get enough. Like mother, like daughter - the food now
has a permanent spot in my fridge. If you, too, have
shied away from kimchi, this may be the time to give
it another chance, especially seeing how versatile it
is in the kitchen.
23 September 2006
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